S Africa police attack farmers again

Police in South Africa fire tear gas and rubber bullets at striking farmers in De Doorns on January 9, 2013.

Police in South Africa have once again attacked striking farmers in the southwestern province of Western Cape as the country braces for more strikes in its farming industry.

On Thursday, hundreds of farm workers in De Doorns threw stones at the police and tried to block the highway linking the provincial capital Cape Town to Johannesburg, the country’s largest city.

Police forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.

“There’s (sic) running battles between police and the strikers. Shooting and stone throwing is the order of the day in the area,” said Nosey Pieterse, the general secretary of the Agricultural Workers Union.

The farm workers demand their minimum daily wages of 69 rand (8 US dollars) be more than doubled.

On Wednesday, police clashed with hundreds of farm workers, who hurled stones at security forces and blocked roads with burning tires in De Doorns.

Police say over 60 strikers have been detained since Wednesday in the Western Cape province.

The country is one the world’s major fruit exporters, with 200,000 permanent and seasonal workers employed on its farmlands.

South Africa was rocked by a wave of strikes to demand higher wages in 2012.

On August 16, police opened fire on striking miners, who were demanding higher wages, killing 34 strikers and injuring dozens of others at Lonmin platinum mine in the town of Marikana in the province of North West.